New Student Cost: Colleges' Sly Fees

Those $2.25 "free HIV testing" fees can really rack up
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2013 11:31 AM CDT
New Student Cost: Colleges' Sly Fees
Tuition isn't the only rising cost facing college students.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

As college tuition costs skyrocket, a second, sneakier bill is also on the rise, and students may not even see it coming. Many colleges across the country are increasing their mandatory student fees, and although individual charges might look small (and a little silly) on paper—Howard University has a $100 "globalization fee," Worcester State University charges a $72 "pedestrian fee," and UC Santa Cruz even slugs students $2.25 for "free HIV testing"—the costs can really rack up, reports ProPublica. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, fees are now six times that of in-state tuition.

Some college officials outright admit that the fees are basically a way of raising tuition without actually raising tuition. "The special institutional fee goes to the exact same things your tuition goes to," says a spokesman for Georgia's Board of Regents. Others insist they work hard to keep all costs transparent and accessible, but some students and their families disagree. "Yes, they are on the web somewhere, but they are not always easy to find," said one parent. "Unless you dig out the list and closely analyze it, you don't realize there are all these extra expenses. Schools don't go out of their way to publicize it." Click for the full report. (More college stories.)

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